An Act of Love: Family Legacy Planning for Metro Atlanta Parents:

Family Legacy Planning for Metro Atlanta ParentsThe Single Most Important Thing You Can Do Now to Feel Better About Yourself As a Parent – and Leave the World a Better Place – No Matter How Much Money You Have in the Bank

If you are like most of the parents I know, you feel guilty. It’s what parents do.

Whether your guilt is about not enough time with the kids, too much time with the kids, hovering incessantly, or being too laid back, you are worried you aren’t doing the right thing by your kids in some way.

Just the fact that you are worried about it tells me, you are an awesome parent.  Bad parents don’t worry that they are being bad parents, they just are bad and don’t care.

And, at the same time, I know you’d appreciate a quick, effective and pain-free way to remove that guilt and start really feeling great about how much you do for your kids.  Plus, make sure they know exactly how much you love them, no matter what.

I know that’s what matters most to me.  I know that kids who feel loved as children grow up to be better people, better parents themselves, more successful, happier and contribute to the world more.

I’ve seen it again and again and been frequently surprised by how much the feeling of being loved can overcome any number of circumstances for a child.

Broken marriages, early death of parents, even being given up for adoption, each of these circumstances could lead to trauma, feelings of abandonment, persistent anxiety and fear.  People who experience these challenges will have a harder time in life, be less able to maintain relationships and tend to do less well in their careers.

And, if a child feels loved through these exact same circumstances, truly and thoroughly loved and accepted, he doesn’t just survive them, he thrives. He takes the hard times and turns them into teachings.  He is a joy to be around because he is so in service to life itself.  He is loved by all because he knows the love of his parents.

It’s what makes life really matter, right?  Knowing you’ve parented your kids well and left them well-prepared for the future — safe, secure and full of self-love.

Is there really anything more important than that?

But what have you done to prepare for the day you can’t be there for them? Will they feel your love then?

It’s not a pleasant topic, I know.  It used to frighten me to paralysis when I used to think about it.  Because I didn’t know what to do to make it okay.  I love my children so much I couldn’t bear to think about them living on after me because I couldn’t envision who would care for them like I do.

And I knew that if I didn’t make decisions, a Judge would make them for me.  I knew it wouldn’t have been what I wanted and my kids would be left wondering – why didn’t mom care enough to take care of the things that really matter?

Day after day the Courts process cases of families who have lost a loved one and now it’s left up to the overworked, underpaid, harried and hurried Judge to make the critical decisions you’ve struggled with yourself, and to do so with limited or no information.

Decisions such as who will be the guardian of the children left behind, who will make financial decisions for the family until all children have become adults and who will take care of ensuring it’s all done well are left up to a stranger who doesn’t know you, love you, or really even care about you.

When you make the decisions about these things (and document the decisions properly), you are doing the right thing by your children, letting them know they can feel secure, confident, and not grow up with the kind of issues that will keep them from having successful relationships, lives and careers.

Engaging in the process of making decisions for your kids care if something happens to you and getting clear on the kind of beliefs you want them to take into the world if you aren’t there to raise them makes you a better parent.

The best part is that even though you are planning for a long-time in the future or an eventuality that may never happen, it makes you a better parent immediately.

When you clarify the way you want your children raised and the beliefs you want them to carry into the world, you naturally begin to be more conscious about your relationship with your children now.

If you’d like to explore this process of Family Legacy Planning with a metro Atlanta family legacy planning attorney, come in for a visit with me and in just 90 minutes or so you’ll know exactly how you want your children raised, what beliefs and values you want them to take into the world and pass on to their kids, and who will be the best people to do that, if you can’t be.

Normally, a Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session is $750.  It’s guaranteed to be a game-changer for you as a parent.  You’ll be closer with your children. More relaxed.  And more able to stay connected to yourself and what really matters through the parenting process.

The first three families to call us this month at 770.425.6060 and mention this blog post can schedule the Georgia Family Legacy Planning Session and we will waive the session fee.  Be sure to mention the Blog and the code “ParentsLove” so you don’t get charged.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11558537Every parent wants to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives often want to leave some of their assets to young children, too. But good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results.

For example, many parents think if they name a guardian for their minor children in their wills and something happens to them, the named person will automatically be able to use the inheritance to take care of the children. But that’s not what happens. When the will is probated, the court will appoint a guardian to raise the child; usually this is the person named by the parents. But the court, not the guardian, will control the inheritance until the child reaches legal age (18 or 21). At that time, the child will receive the entire inheritance. Most parents would prefer that their children inherit at a later age, but with a simple will, you have no choice; once the child attains the age of majority the court must distribute the entire inheritance in one lump sum.

A court guardianship for a minor child is very similar to one for an incompetent adult. Things move slowly and can become very expensive. Every expense must be documented, audited and approved by the court, and an attorney will need to represent the child. All of these expenses are paid from the inheritance, and because the court must do its best to treat everyone equally under the law, it is difficult to make exceptions for each child’s unique needs.

Quite often children inherit money, real estate, stocks, CDs and other investments from grandparents and other relatives. If the child is still a minor when this person dies, the court will usually get involved, especially if the inheritance is significant. That’s because minor children can be on a title, but they cannot conduct business in their own names. So as soon as the owner’s signature is required to sell, refinance or transact other business, the court will have to get involved to protect the child’s interests.

Sometimes a custodial account is established for a minor child under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA). These are usually established through a bank and a custodian is named to manage the funds. But if the amount is significant (say, $10,000 or more), court approval may be required. In any event, the child will still receive the full amount at legal age.

A better option is to set up a children’s trust in your will and name someone to manage the inheritance instead of the court. You can also decide when the children will inherit. But the trust cannot be funded until the will has been probated, and that can take precious time and could reduce the assets. If you become incapacitated, this trust does not go into effect…because a will cannot go into effect until after you die.

Another option is a revocable living trust, the preferred option for many parents and grandparents. The person(s) you select, not the court, will be able to manage the inheritance for your minor children or grandchildren until they reach the age(s) you want them to inherit—even if you become incapacitated. Each child’s needs and circumstances can be accommodated, just as you would do. And assets that remain in the trust are protected from the courts, irresponsible spending and creditors (even divorce proceedings).

If you’d like to learn more about estate planning for your family, call our Atlanta estate planning lawyers at our Marietta wills and trusts law office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. Call us today at 770-425-6060.

Source: EstatePlanning.com

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